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Island Councillors Reveal Their Aims For The New Year

As the calendar ticks over into 2024, new challenges and new opportunities sit on the horizon for the Isle of Wight Council.

In the corridors of County Hall, where tinsel and decorations may still festoon the walls, work continues to keep the Island ticking along — from bin collections to school places and from food hygiene inspections to yellow line proposals — but what next?

The authority will face crucial decisions in 2024 including what to do with the excess number of places in Island primary schools and whether that leads to closing schools; whether to adopt the planning strategy which has been years in the making; and how to manage the financial pressures in adult and children’s social care.

With more to be done than ever before, and a shrinking cash pot, just what are those in charge looking to do in the year ahead?

See what each cabinet member said their New Year’s resolutions were for their portfolios below …

Cllr Phil Jordan – Leader and Cabinet member for infrastructure, transport and the Highways PFI

  • Reduce the number of families in temporary accommodation as early as Spring and ensure families and children are not disadvantaged because of their circumstances, working toward providing more permanent homes.
  • Provide affordable homes on the Island which are truly affordable to residents by working with a range of opportunities and providers.
  • Resolve the Floating Bridge.

Cllr Jordan said: “I want to be able to announce in 2024 a new approach to delivering, sustaining and improving the Floating Bridge service which should include a new vessel.

“I am seeking support from industry professionals and engineering experts to bring forward outline suggestions for the service and vessel, which would need to be electrically powered.”

Cllr Ian Stephens – Deputy Leader and cabinet member for housing and finance 

  • Continue to lobby central government for fair funding for the Isle of Wight Council in support of essential services.
  • Pursue the Brownfield Land Release Fund which enables the clearance of council-owned land for housing development for Island affordable social housing.
  • Bring forward a structured, legally balanced budget which will assist in the future stability of services provided by the authority.

Cllr Debbie Andre – Cabinet member for adult social care and public health

  • Develop further and improve the way we communicate the range of adult social care services available to residents. By applying the principle ‘no wrong door’ residents can easily find and get access to the right services for them at the right time through a variety of means.
  • Strengthen, promote and extend Early Help and Living Well services, which are already making a significant impact in maintaining independence, through targeted support delivered by community partners working with the council.
  • Launch and develop an anti-smoking strategy to support the cessation of smoking among Islanders, especially during pregnancy, through a range of interventions and prevent the unnecessary use of disposable vapes by non-smokers, especially young people.

Cllr Jonathan Bacon – Cabinet member for children’s services, education and corporate functions

  • Enhance opportunities for children in care and support for care leavers.
  • Create a sustainable school estate enabling Island schools to deliver the best possible quality of education.
  • Work to improve standards of literacy and attendance at schools.

Cllr Paul Fuller – Cabinet member for planning, coastal protection and flooding

  • Progressing the Draft Island Planning Strategy.
  • Ensuring all residents feel secure and safe in their homes.
  • Ensure residents feel their council listens to them.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans – Cabinet member for economy, regeneration, culture and leisure

  • Continue the great work by 1Lesiure, supporting our community’s health goals.

She said:

“They are so professional and dedicated, they are a credit to the Isle of Wight Council."

  • Support the delivery of elements of the Cultural Strategy and continue to work with partners in the South West area. A new Solent-wide strategy is launching in 2024.
  • Look forward to seeing the new Bay Area Place Plan and bring projects forward the see the aspirations realised, especially for young people who have already helped bring forward the restoration of Sandown Town Hall.

Cllr Karen Lucioni – Cabinet member for regulatory services, community protection and ICT

  • Get CCTV manned again
  • Lobby for a police front desk in the Bay Area
  • Lead on a plan to make Ryde Monktonmead resilient to future flooding

Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox – Cabinet member for climate change, biosphere and waste

  • Continue to work to achieve power sustainability for the Island, both in terms of our electricity infrastructures and encouraging and developing Island-based sources of renewable energy
  • Maintain and work to increase our waste recycling rates — Reduce, recycle, repurpose.
  • Develop council-wide adaptation plans to manage a changing climate that supports the wellbeing of our community with increasing extreme weather events and that our economy can sustainably grow and decision-making shows regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals to achieve this.

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